Dems False Talking Point of 80% Agreement

Obama has repeatedly been heard to say that Congress agrees on “about 80% of what needs to be done” on healthcare. And many Democratic congressmen have been echoing this since Obama’s Sept. speech. The meme has been used to present their case as if Obamacare is somehow mostly acceptable by all concerned. Even some Republican congressmen have used the meme. But what does this 89% catch phrase mean? Is it true?

It would appear that the truth is murkier than the meme.

Immediately after Obama’s Sept. 10th speech where he uttered the “80%” claim, the Heritage Foundation disputed the stat saying this it is “probably not true because about 80 percent of what is in the current legislation is not needed in order to achieve the three basic goals outlined in the speech.”

Recently, others have been raising doubts about this 80% claim.

“I don’t know what that number means. I have no idea how you’d calculate something like that,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee. On Wednesday that panel labored through another round of bill drafting. It hopes to finish its work later this week, but final congressional action on the legislation is still probably months _and lots of tense votes and debates – away.

“I don’t see it,” said Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, a centrist Republican whom Democrats often woo.

“Most of the 80 percent doesn’t involve money,” quipped Finance Committee member Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The recent votes we’ve seen on the public option and other aspects of the various bills running through Congress casts doubt on that purported 80% agreement.

McClatchy reports that recent committee votes have “rarely reflected an 80 percent majority on anything major” where healthcare is concerned.

What we have here is the Democratic Party using an arguably false rhetorical cue to sell Obamacare as if only a few mean Republicans are standing in its way. The truth seems to be that agreement is much farther off than the 80% mark.

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